Thursday, May 23, 2024

Veteran campaigner Hummels the hero as fine margins cost PSG

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 May 2024

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Mats Hummels was Borussia Dortmund’s hero on Tuesday, as his goal sent the Bundesliga side into the Champions League final.

Hummels’ second-half header was the difference as BVB won 1-0 on the night against Paris Saint-Germain in the French capital, and a 2-0 win on aggregate.

The average age of PSG’s starting XI was 24 years and 157 days, which was the youngest starting XI to be named in a Champions League semi-final since Arsenal in May 2009.

Yet it was a veteran campaigner in Hummels who was decisive.

His excellent header was the centre-back’s first goal in the Champions League for Dortmund since February 2013.

At the age of 35 years and 143 days, Hummels became the third oldest player to score a Champions League semi-final goal, after Ryan Giggs in 2010-11 (37y 148d) and Edin Dzeko last season (37y 54d).

It was only his fifth goal in the competition, and Hummels’ first in 42 games, since he netted for Bayern Munich against Ajax in October 2018.

PSG will ultimately rue the fine margins as their Champions League curse continues.

Kylian Mbappe had five shots, but could not wield his usual influence on proceedings, other than when he hit the crossbar – one of four PSG attempts that struck the woodwork.

Indeed, PSG hit the frame of the goal 14 times throughout their campaign. This is the most on record (since 2003-04) by any team in a single season. Six of these came in this tie.

PSG amassed 3.2 expected goals. This was just the fourth Champions League game on record (since 2010-11) in which a team managed at least 3.0 xG but has failed to score.

This is just the second time a team has won both legs of a Champions League semi-final tie by a 1-0 scoreline – Dortmund were also the other occasion, against Manchester United in 1996-97.

Dortmund have now reached the Champions League final for the third time. The last time they did so was also the last time the showpiece was played at Wembley Stadium (2013), when they lost to Bayern, who they could yet meet again this time around.

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